September 15, 2021


Five-Part Series Premieres Wednesdays, October 27—November 24, 2021 at 9pm ET/8C on PBS

  NOVA to Launch Robust Outreach and Educational Campaign Surrounding the Series, including a Five-Part Companion Podcast and Virtual Events | @novapbs

BOSTON, MA; September 15, 2021—The award-winning PBS science series, NOVA, a production of GBH Boston, will premiere a new epic five-part series, NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED, Wednesdays, beginning October 27, 2021 at 9pm ET/8C on PBS. The series, a sequel to and expansion on NOVA’s acclaimed 2019 series THE PLANETS, marks the latest co-production from PBS and the BBC Studios Science Unit. Using stunning CGI imagery, the latest scientific research, and archival footage captured during scientific missions, the series immerses viewers in the expansive and dramatic story of the universe, from its moment of inception 13.8 billion years ago, to what could be its ultimate fate, trillions upon trillions of years in the future.

In distant realms far beyond our familiar solar system, an epic drama is continuously unfolding. Its cast list features rogue planets, colliding galaxies, and black holes more massive than a billion suns—and each character has its own extraordinary story to tell. In this series, NOVA delves into the vastness of space to capture the powerful moments when the universe changed forever. State-of-the-art animation delivers astonishing, photorealistic glimpses of the birth of the very first star, the chaos created as two galaxies collide, and the power of a supermassive black hole as it flings a star across space so violently that it’s still traveling millions of years later. NOVA even takes viewers back in time to witness the birth of space and time itself.

“This series is hugely ambitious in its scale. It allows us to roam through time and space uncovering exquisite moments of sheer drama that changed the universe forever,” said BBC Executive Producer Andrew Cohen. “Extraordinary events laid the way for our own arrival on this tiny planet that orbits just one star of the trillions of stars that make up the visible universe.”

“Huge new advances in the scientific understanding of our universe have allowed us to take you to places we didn’t even know existed ten years ago. With breakthrough VFX we can come face-to-face with the universe’s most surprising characters and understand how their fates are intertwined with our own,” said BBC Executive Producer Gideon Bradshaw.

“We’ve all been born into this dramatic and ever-unfolding story of the universe, which has been playing out since the beginning of time,” said NOVA Executive Producer Chris Schmidt. “This highly entertaining series aims to answer some of the many questions around the ideas of time and space that we curious beings have long pondered. It’s also a celebration of the incredible power that human beings have to ask questions and find answers, using nothing more than imagination and scientific exploration.”

“We were so proud of THE PLANETS series and gratified to see how it resonated with viewers,” said NOVA Executive Producer Julia Cort. “It’s been a pleasure to again work with the BBC on this sequel, which is even more ambitious in scale. We’re also excited to deliver more multiplatform content surrounding the series—including a companion podcast, ‘NOVA Now Universe Revealed’—and look forward to engaging with audiences through virtual screening events beginning this fall.”

The five one-hour episodes are as follows:

 “NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED: AGE OF STARS” Premieres Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 9pm ET/8C

The sun is a constant presence in our lives and has been a lifegiving source of light, heat, and energy for 4.6 billion years. Yet we’ve only recently begun to unravel its epic history and discover its place among an even grander cycle of birth, death, and renewal that makes this the age of stars. To piece together this stellar saga, NOVA explores new clues from the iconic Hubble Space Telescope and a heat-resistant solar probe that’s designed to fly as close to the Sun’s million-degree atmosphere as possible. The trail of evidence leads back to the first star nurseries; there, early stars ignited and became nuclear fusion factories, forging the elements that would make up planets and ultimately our own bodies. In spectacular animation based on Hubble photos, we witness how our universe came to be populated by stars of every size and color. With their fuel finally exhausted, we see stars stage a dramatic exit when they explode as supernovae, which can outshine an entire galaxy. And in its final act, NOVA offers a haunting glimpse billions of years into the future, when the age of stars will lead ultimately to an age of darkness, long after our own sun extinguishes itself.

“NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED: MILKY WAY” Premieres Wednesday, November 3, 2021 at 9pm ET/8C

The Milky Way, an ethereal city of stars straddling the night sky, is a constant reminder of our place in the galaxy we call home. It’s so vast that even traveling at the speed of light, it would take about 100,000 years to cross it. But what shaped this giant spiral of stars, gas, and dust, and what will be its destiny? NOVA explores the wonders of galactic archaeology revealed by Gaia, a spacecraft that’s creating a precise 3D map and measuring the motions of over a billion stars in our galaxy. The results are unlocking the turbulent history of our cosmic neighborhood, from its birth in a whirling disk of clouds and dust to colossal collisions with other galaxies. Travel back in time and witness how one of those collisions injected fresh gas into the Milky Way and gave birth to new generations of stars—possibly including our own sun. And finally, we’ll peer into the future to watch the Milky Way’s ultimate fate as it collides with its nearest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, over 4 billion years from now.

“NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED: ALIEN WORLDS” Premieres Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 9pm ET/8C

For nearly as long as humans have gazed up at the night sky, we’ve wondered whether other lifeforms and intelligences could be thriving on worlds far beyond our own. Answering that question seemed forever fated to remain pure speculation. But over the last few decades, ultra-sensitive telescopes and dogged detective work have transformed alien planet-hunting from science fiction into hard fact. NOVA tells the story of how the first breakthrough discoveries of exoplanets—planets orbiting other stars—were made. Expecting to find them similar to our familiar planets, scientists instead discovered a riot of exotic worlds. Vivid animation based on data from the Kepler space telescope brings them into view: puffy planets with the density of Styrofoam, unstable worlds orbiting two suns, and thousand-degree, broiling gas giants with skies whipped into titanic winds. Then NOVA reveals the most tantalizing discovery of all: the Super-Earths, situated in the “Goldilocks zone,” just the right distance from their sun where life might be supportable, and with one of them signaling life’s essential ingredient, water, in its atmosphere. With over 2,800 exoplanets confirmed by Kepler and discoveries still rolling in, NOVA revisits that age-old question with thrilling new science: Are we alone?

 “NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED: BLACK HOLES” Premieres Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 9pm ET/8C

Black holes have long challenged the best minds in science and gripped the popular imagination. The most powerful and enigmatic objects known, they can reshape entire galaxies, warp the fabric of space and time, and may even be the key to unlocking the ultimate nature of reality. Yet if we can’t see them, how can we investigate them? Black Holes tells the story of how a new generation of high-energy telescopes is bringing these invisible voids to light—notably, the discovery that supermassive black holes millions or even billions of times larger than our sun lurk at the center of nearly every galaxy, including our own. But what happens if you stray too close to a black hole’s point of no return—its event horizon? NOVA’s animation depicts the ultimate thrill ride as we surf a waterfall in the fabric of the universe toward a yawning black hole. Time itself slows to a crawl and we witness the annihilation of a planet as it’s torn apart by “spaghettification.” So what lies beyond the black hole’s void? If nothing can ever escape, is that the end of the story? Or could they be a portal to another dimension—or another universe, full of black holes?

“NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED: BIG BANG” Premieres Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 9pm ET/8C

Many think that the Big Bang is when the universe started and time itself began. But what clues can we discover about this ultimate genesis of everything? And can we ever know what existed before the universe’s birthday? In Big Bang, NOVA winds back the ages with the help of animation based on stunning images from the Hubble Space Telescope. We meet infant galaxies like GN-z11, a mere fraction of the size of our Milky Way but filled with vast and violent blue stars that formed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Before that—before the coming of visible light itself—stretches the “cosmic Dark Ages,” when the only direct clues are ripples in the radiation picked up by the Planck space telescope. But in a final twist, Big Bang traces how scientists came up with an incredible theory for what happened billionths of a billionth of a second from the universe’s birth. NOVA rewinds to the instant when everything was infinitely small and then inflated at a mind-boggling rate. It sounds like science fiction, but the predictions of inflation theory have so far stood the test of time—a triumph of scientific ingenuity that has brought us to the brink of understanding more than we could ever have hoped about our cosmic origins.

To accompany NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED, NOVA will conduct a major national outreach campaign this fall, including a five-part podcast expanding on the series’s narrative and virtual screening events in partnership with science museums, planetariums, and astronomy organizations. The podcast entitled “NOVA Now Universe Revealed” will be a spinoff of NOVA’s signature podcast NOVA Now which is produced by public media organizations GBH and PRX and will be hosted by NOVA Now’s Dr. Alok Patel. NOVA Now, which was nominated for a Shorty Award earlier this year, unpacks the science behind today’s top news stories and is currently in its second season.

In addition, NOVA will supply localized community outreach toolkits to assist PBS stations in crafting their own events and activities, potentially in partnership with local STEM organizations. NOVA Education will produce a robust PBS LearningMedia collection featuring excerpts from the film series contextualized with teaching materials for use in classrooms and virtual field trips connecting students to the astronomers and astrophysicists highlighted in the series. As complimentary content, NOVA also has released the newest installment of the popular NOVA Labs platform, which offers free digital interactives that engage teens and lifelong learners in games that foster authentic scientific exploration. The NOVA Exoplanet Lab takes players beyond our solar system on a search for planets orbiting faraway stars that could be home to intelligent life.

NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED, a five-part series, premieres Wednesdays, October 27–November 24, 2021 at 9pm ET/8C on PBS and will be available for streaming online at and on the PBS video app.

NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED is a BBC Studios Science Unit production with NOVA and GBH Boston, a Xigua Video and Bytedance co-production for BBC and PBS, and is an Open University partnership. The series is part of a co-production deal between PBS and BBC Studios. The partnership provides a pipeline of the high-quality, entertaining factual programs that PBS and BBC audiences have come to expect. Executive Producers for BBC Studios are Head of BBC Studios Science Unit Andrew Cohen, and Executive Producer Gideon Bradshaw. NOVA UNIVERSE REVEALED was commissioned for BBC Two by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Science & Natural History, and executive in charge for PBS is Bill Gardner, Vice President of Programming and Development. Executive Producers for NOVA are Julia Cort and Chris Schmidt. Senior Producer for NOVA is Caitlin Saks. NOVA is a production of GBH Boston. BBC Studios is distributing internationally.

Funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the NOVA Science Trust, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers. Additional funding for public engagement and outreach provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


About NOVA

NOVA is the most popular primetime science series on American television, demystifying the scientific and technological concepts that shape and define our lives, our planet, and our universe. The PBS series is also one of the most widely distributed science programs around the world, and is a multimedia, multiplatform brand reaching more than 55 million Americans every year on TV and online. NOVA’s important and inspiring stories of human ingenuity, exploration, and the quest for knowledge are regularly recognized with the industry’s most prestigious awards. As part of its mission to make the scientific enterprise accessible to all, NOVA is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its work, from the production process to the range of stories we tell and the voices we amplify. In addition, science educators across the country rely on NOVA for resources used in the classroom as well as in museums, libraries, and after-school programs. NOVA is a production of GBH Boston; more information can be found at, or by following NOVA on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

About PBS

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV–including a 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Communications on Twitter.

About The Science Unit, BBC Studios Productions

The BBC Studios Science Unit produces a plethora of bold and trail-blazing content with an unmatched network of experts and access to some of the world’s most advanced scientific institutions. From blue-chip landmark series to drama-documentary and popular consumer health programming, we use quality journalism, innovation, and pioneering technology to make complex scientific ideas accessible to truth-seeking audiences across the globe. Known for high production values and visual flair, the Science Unit supplies content to a range of broadcasters and platforms across the UK, US and Europe, including the BBC, C4, C5, ZDF, PBS, Discovery Science, Netflix and YouTube. Recent output includes YouTube’s The Edge of Science, the multi award-winning science strand Horizon, landmark series The Planets, the critically acclaimed 8 Days: To the Moon and Back, and established series like The Sky at Night, The Truth About… and Stargazing Live.

BBC Studios, a global content company with British creativity at its heart, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group. Award-winning British programmes made by the business are internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms, including factual, drama, entertainment and comedy. BBC Studios has offices in 22 markets globally, including six production bases in the UK and production bases and partnerships in a further nine countries around the world. The company, which makes around 2,500 hours of content a year, is a champion for British creativity around the world and a committed partner for the UK’s independent sector.

About GBH

GBH is the leading multiplatform creator for public media in America. As the largest producer of content for PBS and partner to NPR and PRX, GBH delivers compelling experiences, stories and information to audiences wherever they are. GBH produces digital and broadcast programming that engages, illuminates and inspires, through drama and science, history, arts, culture and journalism. It is the creator of such signature programs as MASTERPIECE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NOVA, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, Arthur and Molly of Denali, as well as WORLD Channel and a catalog of streaming series, podcasts and on-demand video. With studios and a newsroom headquartered in Boston, GBH reaches across New England with GBH 89.7, Boston’s Local NPR®; CRB Classical 99.5; and CAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® station. Dedicated to making media accessible to and inclusive of our diverse culture, GBH is a pioneer in delivering media to those who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired. GBH creates curriculum-based digital content for educators nationwide with PBS LearningMedia and has been recognized with hundreds of the nation’s premier broadcast, digital and journalism awards. Find more information at